Top Chinese Official Says Unemployment Situation Critical

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Nov. 21 – A top Chinese official has warned that the country is facing critical unemployment problems brought about by the global credit crisis.

China’s social security minister, Yin Weimin, announced measures to control rising unemployment.These include providing information on job vacancies and offering additional training for workers going back home.

Government agencies will also to asked to encourage graduates to seek employment in the private sector or offer better packages for jobs located in underdeveloped regions in the country.

“Currently, the employment situation is critical, and this impact (of the financial crisis) is still unfolding,” Yin told media in response to a question on recent labor unrest.

China’s unemployment now stands at 4 percent and is expected to reach 4.5 percent by the year’s end.

According to the AFP, in China’s manufacturing hub, Guangdong province, alone one-fifth of factories in major cities are expected to close by January next year.

As more workers stand to lose jobs, there are fears that this could lead to more incidents of labor unrest. There have been reports of thousands of workers gathering outside closed factories in the province, demanding unpaid wages and forcing local authorities to intervene, reports the AFP.

Experts have warned labour unrest could spike as more migrant workers lose their jobs.
Yin’s deputy Zhang Xiaojian told China Daily that in some cities job seekers outnumber vacancies by 2-1 while the number of college graduates will increase from 5.59 million to 6.1 million in 2009.